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Simmons makes first career start in No. 5 spot

ATLANTA -- When Andrelton Simmons glanced at the starting lineup upon arriving at Turner Field for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Nationals, he initially thought he was not playing. But upon further examination, the Braves shortstop learned he was nestled in the unfamiliar fifth spot of the lineup.

"It took me a good 15 minutes to realize I was playing," an exaggerating Simmons said. "I was thinking, 'I'm not at the bottom of the lineup and I'm not at the top, but [Ramiro] Pena is playing third and [Tyler] Pastornicky is playing second.' I kept looking, but it took me a while to find my name."

With third baseman Chris Johnson and second baseman Dan Uggla given a chance to rest, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez adjusted his regular lineup. This marked the first time Simmons had ever started a game in the lineup's fifth spot.

Through the first 216 games of his career, Simmons has started a game at every spot in the lineup other than cleanup. His lone start in the lineup's third spot occurred against the Pirates during the second-to-last game of the 2012 season.

Simmons jammed his right wrist during Wednesday night's game against the Mets and missed two games, but he got through Saturday's game in pain-free fashion.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for
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